Back when Alan Wake first canceled his idyllic PC getaway, Microsoft made a pretty curious comment to justify it. "Some games are more suited for the intimacy of the PC, and others are best played from the couch in front of a larger TV screen. We ultimately realized that the most compelling way to experience Alan Wake was on the Xbox 360 platform.” To which many PC gamers replied: “Sorry, what?” In a way, however, Remedy agrees with Microsoft: PC, the developer believes, isn't just a console with interchangable insides. Both platforms create and provide different experiences, and that requires a very careful approach to the game's (recently revived) development.
Well now, this is a pleasant surprise. When Alan Wake first launched, it was hailed as being part survival-horror, part Twin Peaks, and all console. But a PC port was on the way, they told us. Patience is a virtue. Watch and wait, and when the-- hey, what's that over there? Is it a bunny? It might be a bunny. No, wait, never mind. It's just a cancellation. But now it's un-cancelled because, well, this: “We weren't going to release a PC version... then we took an arrow to the knee.” Seriously. Remedy wrote it -- not us. The game's finally adding some Wake moments to our waking moments in “early 2012.” It'll also come bundled with both previously released DLC packs and tout “high resolution polish” to keep jaggies from stabbing your delicate PC gamer eyes. Now then, so long as we're rolling with the whole “surprise releases of 2010's greatest 'not gonna happen' hits” theme, can we have Red Dead Redemption? Pretty pleeeeease?
It's pitch black, and your teeth are chattering so loudly that you barely even notice the three simultaneous heart attacks you're having as you creep through the tall grasses of an open field. Suddenly, the bushes behind you rustle. You jerk your head so quickly that your body nearly doesn't get the chance to follow, as the hulking, foreboding figure of a baby bunny hops out from the bush. Phew. Heart attack number four averted. For now. You wipe the sweat from your brow – which, at this particular moment, is the world's most accurate model of what would happen if the polar ice caps actually melted – and continue onwards.
For about two feet. That's when you see it. Yep, there it is – right in front of you. Oh sweet mother of mercy. No, no – not the sprinting, groaning gray guy who's licking his unhinged chops and eying your neck. I'm talking about the thing behind him. That's right: a thermos full of coffee! Finally! Awesome! Sorry Mr. terrifying zombie man; just a second. You see, I need that coffee for an achievement.
The game in question? Alan Wake, a game quite capable of keeping you on the edge of your seat right up until the moment it spills hot coffee all over your lap. And it's certainly not alone. For the longest time, triple-A games polished their graphics and tweaked their ambient bunny-in-a-bush sounds in pursuit of a holy grail known simply as “immersion.” Gamers wanted it; game developers wanted it – for everything around the player to just melt away. To be utterly, hopelessly, and completely lost in the game world, without even the thinnest bread crumb trail back to reality. These days, though, immersion is about as prized as an airplane seat surrounded by screaming babies with no nearby emergency exit to fling yourself from. Or at least, it certainly seems that way.
It’s been quite a while since we had any real face time with Alan Wake, and with good reason. See, he’s been turned. Why? Well, apparently, our infinitely malleable platform of choice was just too “intimate” for him.
"Some games are more suited for the intimacy of the PC, and others are best played from the couch in front of a larger TV screen. We ultimately realized that the most compelling way to experience Alan Wake was on the Xbox 360 platform, so we focused on making it an Xbox 360 exclusive," said a Microsoft spokesperson to CVG. "Both Microsoft and Remedy have long histories in PC game development. This decision was about matching this specific game to the right platform."
In all fairness, the spokesperson’s onto something here. Certain genres – like, say, survival-horror – are better suited to the “in yo’ face,” up close and personal intimacy of a PC screen, while others feel more at home stretching their legs in the living room.
Hey, wait. Isn’t Alan Wake a survival-horror game? Well, this is awkward.
Alan Wake’s been a long time in coming, and unfortunately, he doesn’t intend on gracing PC gamers with his presence any time soon. The psychological thriller is pegged for a vague “Spring 2010” release date on the Xbox 360, but what of the platform that we’ve purportedly taken to the max? Well, right now, it’s looking even vaguer.
“I’m a PC gamer at heart (have a Core i7, Radeon 4890, 5.1 audio setup at home) so I do appreciate your concerns,” Remedy's Markus Mäki said.
“Unfortunately all I can say at this point is that we’re focusing all our efforts on the 360 version and will be making comments in regards to the PC at a later in time.”
Well, at least the PC version hasn’t fallen off the radar entirely, even if it is a very dim blip. At this rate, though, with Brutal Legend and Alan Wake taking their time en route to the PC, we’ll be partying like it’s 2010 in 2011. But hey, there’s still one game we can play before said party: The Waiting Game – a PC exclusive if ever there was one.